Qantas Tour of NZ 2018

Aussies wary of little-known world No.1

Marcus Stoinis discusses the threat of clever spinner Mitchell Santner ahead of T20 in Auckland

Louis Cameron in Auckland

14 February 2018, 06:00 PM AEST

Even rusted-on Australian cricket fans would struggle to identify Kiwi spinner Mitchell Santner, let alone name him as the world's No.1 ranked T20 bowler.

But allrounder Marcus Stoinis says Australia have discussed New Zealand's trump card extensively in their preparation for Friday's clash at Eden Park and a possible rematch in next week's final at the same venue.

Santner displaced Black Caps spin partner Ish Sodhi at the top of the International Cricket Council's T20 International bowling rankings last month and his numbers in the shortest format make for impressive reading.

From 25 T20Is, he has collected 28 wickets at 19.96 at an economy rate of 6.88, and Stoinis revealed each of Australia's batsmen are wary of the left-armer’s threat.

Santner serves up new spin trick

"He's a real smart bowler," Stoinis told reporters on Wednesday.

"We've spoken about him at length a few times, we’re making our plans for him.

"Different players will have different plans – Maxi might reverse sweep, I might just try and hit straight."

Santner has played just the one Test against Australia but has thrived against them in the shorter formats.

He's picked up 13 wickets at 21 in eight one-day internationals against the Aussies, while he dismissed Steve Smith and David Warner in New Zealand’s 2016 World T20 victory over their trans-Tasman rivals.

However, the 26-year-old went wicketless and conceded 20 off his two overs in his side's tri-series opener earlier this month against Australia, though he returned to form with on Tuesday with a spell of 2-29 in the Kiwis' high-scoring win over England.

Match wrap: Williamson fires Black Caps to T20 win

Australia are flying on the back of three straight T20 wins on home turf, securing a berth in the final with back-to-back wins over England in Hobart and Melbourne.

New Zealand can seal a spot alongside them in the tri-series decider, to be held at Eden Park next Wednesday, and knock out England with victory over Australia in Auckland on Friday.

Prior to their series defeat to Pakistan last month, New Zealand had lost just two of their previous 15 T20Is on home turf and Stoinis concedes Australia's good form will be tested by their hosts.

"It will be different playing them here in New Zealand compared to playing in Australia because of conditions, because of supporters, all that sort of stuff," the Western Australian said.

Stoinis returns to Eden Park as T20 series continues

"We know they're a good side ... we don't take anything for granted, that's for sure."

Key to the Kiwis snapping their cold streak on Tuesday was captain Kane Williamson, who struck a match-winning 46-ball 72 after a lean spell of his own in the shortest format.

Some had questioned his spot in New Zealand's T20 side altogether and despite battling a back complaint, Williamson, along with fellow opener Martin Guptill (65 off 40), played the game's two decisive knocks.

"They're obviously back in form and we know how good they are so we'll be watching out,” said Stoinis.

"Hats off to (Williamson) ... if I was looking at someone from outside the Australian team, he's definitely someone you watch and you admire.

Air Jordan soars to ground flying Kiwis

"He's adapted his game to T20, to one-day cricket, to Test cricket. He's got a serious record in all (formats).

"He just seems like a smart player, seems like a lovely bloke - I met him in the IPL a few times - and a good captain."

Trans-Tasman T20 Tri-Series

First T20I Australia beat New Zealand by seven wickets. Scorecard

Second T20I Australia beat England by five wickets. Scorecard

Third T20I Australia beat England by seven wickets. Scorecard

Fourth T20I New Zealand beat England by 12 runs. Scorecard

Fifth T20I NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final TBC, Eden Park, February 21

Australia squad: David Warner (c), Aaron Finch (vc), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Ben Dwarshuis, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.

England squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood.

New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Anaru Kitchen, Colin Munro, Seth Rance, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Ben Wheeler.